UFC Leaving FOX For ESPN In 2019
After signing a digital rights deal with ESPN, the UFC has decided to go all in with the network.
Following Fox’s five year pact with World Wrestling Entertainment to bring their Smackdown Live program to the network beginning in October 2019, Variety is reporting that the UFC will be moving to ESPN beginning in early 2019.
First reported by Variety, the deal is rumored to be a five year deal worth $300 million dollars a year, which will bring 30 events to the Disney owned sports network.
The combined deal, per a press release sent out on Wednesday will see ESPN/ESPN+ airing 42 live events, featuring 30 events with a full card of 12 fights.
ESPN, the network, will air 10 exclusive events as well as all UFC PPV preliminary cards. ESPN+ will feature 20 exclusive events under the UFC on ESPN Fight Night banner.
Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN President and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks said, “ESPN’s unparalleled multimedia platform is the perfect home for the UFC and will deliver tremendous value to both parties. UFC fans are passionate and loyal and we plan to bring the full power of ESPN’s live coverage, powerful storytelling and unmatched distribution to serve them in an unprecedented fashion. We can’t wait to get started.”
Dana White, President, UFC said, “Every year for the last 18 years, we have taken this sport and brand to another level. We find innovative ways to promote our athletes and build stars.”
“Today is another monumental day for UFC, our athletes, and our fans. We are now part of the ESPN family, recognized around the world as the pinnacle in sports broadcasting. I am very excited for this next chapter for UFC.” With more than 280 million fans around the world, UFC boasts the youngest fan base among major professional sports organizations in the US with a median age of 40 and an audience comprising 40% millennials.
This adds to the recently signed deal for the UFC’s digital rights on the networks ESPN+ platform, which is also a five year deal worth $750 million over the life of the deal.
Original Report: Variety